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[personal profile] sara_wolf
Title: My Heart Nearer to Thee
Rating: PG
Warnings: character death
Summary: When Phoebe's husband and son are abducted to a dangerous alternate universe, the sisters must travel across reality to save them.


As she stared at Prue, beautiful, whole, alive, Paige felt her knees go weak. She clutched Phoebe's arm in a painful grip, felt Piper hanging onto her shoulder, and spared a brief moment to wonder just who was holding who up. Beside her, Piper stepped in front of her, toward Prue, an expression of hope and painful longing plain on her face.

Prue turned around at the sound of her name, her eyes narrowing when she saw them standing in the doorway.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded, harshly, and Paige could feel Piper stiffen next to her.

"Prue-" she started, but the older woman cut her off, sharply.

"Don't Prue me," she snarled, her eyes flashing with fury. "Is this your handiwork? Did you come back to gloat, or something?"

"What the hell are you talking about, Prue?" Phoebe asked, incredulously, moving forward to stand beside Piper.

That left Paige exposed, and when Prue saw her, she went completely white, and her hands started shaking.

"Let her go," she said, her voice coming out in a low growl as she stepped toward Paige. "I don't know why you're here, or what you want, but she's not a part of it. Just let her go."

"What?" Phoebe asked, glancing automatically back at Paige, and Prue took that moment of distraction to wave her hand at Phoebe, sending her flying across the room to crash into the couch and disappear over the back. "Ow," Phoebe muttered, from out of sight.

"Damn it, Prue!" Piper yelped, staring at her older sister in disbelief. "What the hell?"

In answer, Prue raised her hand again, this time aiming at Piper. Paige quickly pushed Piper behind her, standing between Prue and Piper as a shield. To her relief, Prue faltered as soon as Paige moved in front of Piper, and Paige breathed a quiet sigh of relief.

"Prue?" she said, cautiously, "What'cha doing?"

"Paige, run," Prue said, her eyes never leaving Piper's face. "Just get out of here, I'll hold them off."

"I'm not going anywhere until we figure out what's going on," Paige said, firmly, and then her eyes flicked from Prue to Darryl, where he had his gun trained squarely on Phoebe. "And, would you please put that away?"

"Yeah," Phoebe spoke up, a tiny tremor in her voice. "Guns make me nervous."

"And you two make me nervous!" Prue snapped, drawing their attention back to her. "Paige, get away from them. I don't know what you remember-"

"I remember that these are my sisters-" Paige started, and from behind her, she heard Piper let out an impatient sigh.

"Oh, this is ridiculous," she huffed, pushing Paige out of the way and glaring furiously at Prue. "What the hell is your problem, Prue?"

Paige hastily grabbed Piper and pulled her back, again. "No powers, remember?" she said, pointedly. "That means the baby, too."

"And so I'm supposed to use you as a human shield?" Piper demanded.

"Yes!" Paige told her.

"Hello!" Prue snapped, sharply, and Paige turned to face her oldest sister, again. "What are you two doing?"

"They're bickering," Phoebe spoke up, helpfully, from across the room. "They do it all the time."

Prue looked between the three of them, incredulously, like she couldn't believe what she was seeing. Then, her gaze landed on Piper again, and she blinked, like she was actually looking at her for the first time.

"Are you pregnant?" she finally demanded.

"You just now noticed?" Piper asked, a sarcastic tone in her voice.

"I think she just now noticed," Paige said, softly, getting a smirk from Piper.

"You're pregnant," Prue repeated, stunned, as she stared at Piper. "How are you pregnant?"

"Well," Phoebe said, in a sing-song voice, "Piper and Leo love each other very much-"

"I got that, thank you," Prue muttered, waspishly. Looking between Piper and Phoebe she said, "Then, you're not my Piper. And you're not my Phoebe."

"Which is what we were trying to tell you," Piper told her, "before you started throwing us around like rag dolls."

Prue ignored her, looking instead at Paige. Something indescribably sad flashed across her face. "You're not my Paige," she said, softly, and Paige shook her head.

"I'm sorry," she said, and Prue smiled at her, sadly.

"When I saw you," she said, quietly, "I thought – it was foolish, really. I thought I'd gotten you back. Who are you?" she asked, her voice scratchy. "If you're not my – who are you?"

"Can he put that gun down, first?" Piper asked, and Paige followed her gaze to see that Darryl still had his weapon trained on Phoebe, his eyes flicking uncertainly between all of them.

"It's okay, Darryl," Prue told him, but the older man didn't look convinced.

"You sure?" he asked, cautiously. "The last time-"

"I remember the last time," Prue interrupted him, gently. "It's not them. It's okay, really."

Darryl sighed, finally clicking the safety back on his gun and replacing it in his holster. "Don't say I didn't warn you if this is some kind of trick," he muttered. "And, I want you three away from my crime scene if there's going to be any bloodshed like last time."

"You remember what I said about wondering what our alternate selves are like?" Phoebe asked, as she made her way back to her sisters. "I don't think I want to know, anymore."

"Alternate selves?" Prue echoed, confused.

"We're from an alternate reality," Paige told her, wondering what Prue was going to make of their little revelation. She wasn't sure how she felt, facing a Prue that wasn't the sister she'd known for years, and she could see that Piper and Phoebe were facing the same indecision.

"An alternate reality," Prue repeated, slowly, eying them. She glanced back at Darryl, who just shrugged.

"What? You expect me to be able to explain it?" he asked. "I'm just happy they're not trying to kill us."

"Okay, you have got to stop saying stuff like that," Piper said, an exasperated tone in her voice. "Why would Paige and I try to kill you? We already know about Phoebe's alternate self," she added, hastily.

Prue and Darryl exchanged another, long look. Paige was starting to get nervous. What could have happened in this reality; what could be so bad that Prue didn't even want to talk about it?

"Let's walk," Prue finally said, nodding at the hallway. "Darryl, I'll fill you in, later."

"You'd better," Darryl told her, and then the four of them left him to his crime scene.

"Where to?" Paige asked, when they were out in the hallway, and Prue pursed her lips as she thought about Paige's question for a moment.

"We can't go to P3," she mused out loud. "They know about it, and it's not secure. My place is no good-"

"This might sound random," Phoebe spoke up, getting Prue's attention, "but did your Cole ever get possessed by the Source?"

Prue stared at her for several long seconds. "No," she finally answered. "That's not something I ever had to worry about."

"Then I think I know a place we can go," Phoebe told them. "The penthouse." At Prue's confused look, she went on, "In our reality, Cole and I had this penthouse – still have, actually, but that's not the point – and the only reason we were able to afford it is because he was possessed by the Source. If that never happened, then the penthouse should still be safe. Your Piper and Phoebe won't know about it."

"How can you be sure that it's still empty?" Piper asked, reasonably.

"Because that place was expensive as hell," Phoebe replied. "The only way that Cole could afford it was by being evil. It was standing empty for months before we rented it."

"If it's so expensive," Piper interrupted, shooting Phoebe a look, "then how are you affording it, right now?"

"Cole paid it off when he was working for the law firm," Phoebe answered. "And my job at the paper pays the rest of the bills."

Piper looked like she wanted to make some comment to that statement, but Paige elbowed her in the side, shaking her head, slightly. Now was not the time or place for that discussion.

"Penthouse it is, then," Paige declared.

Reaching out, she snagged Prue and Phoebe's arms, and Piper latched onto Paige's shoulders. Then, she orbed them out of the hallway and to the penthouse.

The lights were off in the penthouse when they orbed in, the sunlight streaming through the windows illuminating the room.

"Looks like you were right," Piper commented, looking around. "This place is empty."

"Not that empty," Prue commented, nodding at the table in the dining area, where a plate and glass were sitting. "Someone's been here, recently."

"Someone's still here," a harsh voice spoke up from behind them, and they turned around to see Cole standing in the doorway. His hair was wet, like he'd just stepped out of the shower, he was shirtless and barefoot, and he had a cold expression on his face. "Don't move," he ordered, furiously, an energy ball forming in the palm of his hand.

Continued here
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